Last updated on November 15th, 2023 at 09:32 am
White trainers are one wardrobe classic that everyone ought to own. The unsung heroes of fashion, you can dress them up or down with ease no matter what time of year.
However, the versatility of the quintessential white trainer combo can sometimes be its downfall. If you’ve ever owned a pair yourself, you may know the frustration of trying your best to keep them in their original crisp white condition.
What’s on this page:
- How to clean white leather trainers
- How to clean white canvas shoes
- How to whiten your trainers and shoes
- Top tips for protecting white trainers and shoes
How to clean white leather trainers
White leather trainers look great with almost any outfit, adding a touch of laid-back style to retro jeans or a floral dress. But like any white shoes, these practical staples get grubby easier than we’d like. Luckily, cleaning white leather trainers is simple.
First, remove shoelaces and insoles before wiping off loose dirt with a dry cloth or brush. Then, create a cleaning solution with mild soap and warm water. Dampen a soft cloth or sponge, then gently scrub the shoes. For more stubborn stains, use a soft-bristle toothbrush and scrub a little harder.
Go ahead and rinse with a clean, damp cloth, and wipe away excess moisture with a dry cloth. You should also stuff the shoes with newspaper to maintain their shape. Allow them to air dry, away from direct heat or sunlight.
Finally, reinsert insoles and laces, and your white leather trainers will look fresh and clean.
How to clean white canvas shoes
It’s easy to clean the rubber soles the same as with leather shoes. But did you know the canvas upper can be revitalised in various ways?
- Washing up liquid – A gentle solution of water and washing up liquid can help remove light dirt.
- Lemon juice – Only to be used on canvas kicks, do not use lemon juice on leather or suede. Try spraying a touch of lemon juice on your canvas shoes and leave them in the sun. The acidity will break down any dirt causing the shoes to look stained.
- Laundry detergent – For extra stubborn stains, laundry detergent can lift dirt when diluted with water. Allow the solution to sit on the shoes for a few minutes, then use a clean cloth to wipe them clean and dry.
How to whiten your trainers and shoes
If daily wear and tear is causing your white trainers to look less than their best, it’s useful to know how to clean trainers and store them properly. That way, you can help them stay looking new for longer.
How do you clean white trainers that have gone yellow?
It’s not uncommon for white canvas shoes and trainers to turn yellow over time, They can become prone to discolouration as they come into contact with more things that can transfer colour to them.
You can help restore discoloured white trainers by leaving them out in the sun to bleach naturally. Stain removing detergent can also help improve the colour of white canvas shoes – just make sure all detergent is washed away before exposing to sunlight.
How to clean white trainers
White trainers are a staple item in everyone’s wardrobe, but they do involve some maintenance. In fact, dirty white trainers can really ruin a well-thought-out outfit, so it’s important to give your favourite pairs a freshen-up every now and then.
To avoid ruining your shoes, you should always use a soapy solution made with mild soap and warm water. Gently scrub the shoes with a soft brush or toothbrush, paying attention to stains. Then, rinse with a damp cloth to remove soap residues.
For more stubborn stains, use a magic eraser or a mixture of water and white vinegar. You should also remove the laces and wash them separately, either in the washing machine or soapy solution, or you could replace them entirely.
Once you have scrubbed away the stains, air dry your trainers, avoiding any direct heat sources that could leave unsightly burn marks.
If you’re really looking to go the extra mile for your white leather trainers, you could consider applying white shoe polish all over to restore their shine.
How to clean white suede trainers
Cleaning suede differs from leather and canvas due to its delicate texture. Unlike leather, suede can’t withstand excessive moisture. Instead, it requires a suede brush for dirt removal and a specialised suede cleaner for stains. Leather, on the other hand, is more robust and can handle regular leather cleaners and conditioners. However, canvas is typically easier to clean, often with mild soap and water.
How do white trainers get so dirty?
White shoes are often stained from a variety of things we use, do and wear day-to-day. Of course, walking outdoors exposes them to dirt, dust, mud and other debris, which will alter their appearance over time. And weather conditions, such as rain and snow, will inevitably introduce mud and watermarks.
Daily activities and sports will also cause dirt and stains on white trainers or even scuffs and abrasions from contact with objects.
And if you have a favourite pair that you wear every day, sweat and body oils can lead to discolouration over time.
How to clean white shoelaces?
It may just be that your shoelaces are making your trainers look dirtier than they actually are. If this is the case, it’s time to do something about them.
Start by removing them from your shoes and shaking off any loose dirt and debris. Then, prepare a soapy solution by mixing warm water with a mild detergent or dish soap. Submerge the laces in this solution and let them soak for 15-30 minutes. Next, gently scrub the laces with an old toothbrush or soft brush to target stains and dirt. Finally, rinse the laces thoroughly with clean, warm water to remove soap residue.
Once that’s all done, lay them flat on a clean towel to air dry. For the most stubborn stains, however, you may need to repeat the process or consider replacing them.
How often should you clean your trainers?
The frequency of cleaning your trainers depends on wear and activity level. That said, while you want to keep your white shoes nice and fresh, you don’t want to clean them too much, as this could ruin them.
For regular maintenance, wiping off loose dirt is recommended after each use. But routine cleaning every 2-4 weeks will help to maintain their appearance. If you are using your shoes for sports, exercise or heavy use, you may need to clean them much more frequently, depending on dirt and sweat levels.
Ultimately, personal preference and the need to keep your trainers looking and smelling fresh will determine the cleaning schedule.
Top tips for protecting white trainers and shoes
Regular maintenance can help you keep your white trainers looking sharp. Here are a few handy tips for protecting your white trainers and shoes in the long run:
- Balm – Protect your white leather shoes by using a clear coloured leather balm after cleaning to buff out any scuffs and prevent the leather from drying out.
- Protective spray – Useful for suede and nubuck leather to minimise water damage or further staining.
- Wax – Cover the upper part of your white canvas shoes using a clear or white candle. Once completely covered, use a hairdryer to melt the wax into the shoe. This can protect against stains and dirt build-up, and also helps with waterproofing shoes and boots.
Can you put white trainers in the washing machine?
No. You should never clean your white trainers in the washing machine. Tempting as it may be, putting your white leather trainers in the washing machine can warp the shape and cause the glue to melt, which can make them fall apart.
Whether you’re on a dog walk, catching an event or going out for a meal, white trainers are a certified classic that can quickly save an outfit dilemma. So, fear not if your faithful friends have taken on a bit of their environment with them. It’s easy to learn how to clean white trainers with a little TLC.